By Emma Amaize & Austin Ogwuda
WARRI—THE Police in Delta State have asked the Navy authorities in the state to surrender the naval personnel, who allegedly disarmed, battered and abducted two police officers and officials of Kayriott Hotel and Suites, Effurun, in the state on January 30, for investigation and prosecution.
Meanwhile, Urhobo Political Forum, UPF, has called on the National Assembly Committee on Navy to take over investigation into the alleged attack by naval officers on Karriot Hotel, noting that it amounts to double tragedy to allow the Navy to continue the investigation of the incident.
National Publicity Secretary of the group, Mr Ejaife Odebala, in a statement in Asaba, yesterday, said: “We express dismay and sadness over the brutalisation, unlawful imprisonment and breach of the fundamental human rights of Mr. Efe Afe, staff and security attaché to Karriot hotel by the Nigerian Navy personnel.
“From the unfolding scenario, it is clear that the Nigerian Navy is being a judge in its own cause by interrogating and punishing the people its personnel assaulted and later setting up a committee to investigate its own action, where clearly they are the aggressors.”
The police on their part, while reacting to what they described as a “feeble attempt” by the Navy, Monday, to deny the “show of shame” exhibited by its personnel, Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ikechukwu Aduba, said: “We want to state clearly that the actions of the naval officer hinges on the realm of criminality and the only option left to the Naval authorities is to hand over the erring naval officer to the Police for investigation and prosecution.”
He said that the defence put up by the Navy for the blundering personnel was the “height of falsehood.”
Efforts to get the Commanding Officer, Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS Delta, Commodore Mohammed Garba, for comments, yesterday, proved abortive, but responding to the demand of the Police to surrender their men for investigation and prosecution, Public Relations Officer, NNS, Delta, Lt. C.I.D. Yohana, said surrendering naval personnel to the police was out of the question because it was the police that battered the naval officer.
Yohana had, Monday, denied that his men were responsible for alleged battery and destruction of property at Kayriott Hotel and Suites, saying, “The incident that happened at Kayriott is still under investigation and was a case of assault of a commissioned naval officer which necessitated his admission in the hospital.”
He explained on phone that NNS Delta was not shielding its men from investigation and that the assaulted navy officer, whose ear is dripping blood, was back to the hospital after his appearance at the press briefing.